02/12/2013 World News Today


02/12/2013

The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Zeinab Badawi.

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Increasing pressure on the Ukrainian president to resign, as protesters

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begin sealing off parts of the capital, Kiev. They have barricaded

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Independence Square and government buildings in anger at a decision to

:00:18.:00:20.

back away from the trade deal with the EU.

:00:21.:00:26.

Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, is for the first time directly

:00:27.:00:30.

accused of war crimes by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner.

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But will the evidence against him ever go to trial?

:00:37.:00:40.

Also coming up: British Olympic hero Tom Daley says he is in a

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relationship with another man. What impact will this have on his career?

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I think people will make a big deal of this. Is it a big deal? I don't

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think so. And we will hear from Ivorian

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midfielder Yaya Tour, this year's winner of the BBC African footballer

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of the year. Hello and welcome. A tense standoff

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is underway over Ukraine's future in the capital, Kiev. Thousands of

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demonstrators have gathered for fresh protests, while other

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activists are barricaded inside city hall. The unrest was triggered at

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Ukraine's 11th hour decision to back away from a deal which would ensure

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closer ties with the European Union. This is the scene in the capital,

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Kiev. Protesters are entrenched inside City Hall and have put up

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barricades. Protesters now want President Viktor Yanukovich to

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resign. People power on display in Kiev.

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Protesters took to the streets to paralyse their government. They set

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up roadblocks to stop officials getting to work. At government

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headquarters, no door was left unguarded. It will be our victory if

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they don't come inside. Protesters occupy Independence Square. They're

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demanding closer links with Europe instead of Russia. Thousands spent

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the night here. They spent all might building barricades using large

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pieces of wood and metal. This is to stop police moving onto the square.

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Yesterday, there are violent clashes between riot police and protesters.

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More than 100 were injured. The opposition is demanding that the

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president resign. But these demonstrators told me they are not

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surprised. TRANSLATION: Whenever people take to the streets, our

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president runs away. He is a coward. Not everyone in this country wants

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closer links with the European Union. But these people believe that

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the future of Ukraine lies to the west, and they blame their president

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for holding them back. Our reporter joins us now live. I

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hope you can hear me. People still out in force. Give us an account of

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what is going on. That is correct. It is bitterly

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cold, but despite that there are thousands of people here on

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Independence Square. They have been listening to music and political

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speeches. They are determined to keep in this square as the focal

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point of their protest. Some people here will probably spend the night.

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Last night, people lit fires to keep themselves warm. It is bitterly

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cold, but this is the centre of the protest. There were attempts to

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surround the government building today to make sure that no

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government officials could get inside the building. The protesters

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feel their demands should be met. The president seems to be taking a

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relaxed view of this? He is going ahead with a visit abroad?

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That is correct. Had speculation that perhaps Viktor Yanukovich would

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cancel his trip to China, but he is due to leave tomorrow. That would

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suggest that he is confident about his position here. He gave an

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interview to a number of Ukrainian television channels earlier today

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and said that everyone had the right to express their own opinion, as

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long as that was done peacefully. He said the opposition, the authorities

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and police all had to abide by the law of the state. He called on the

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opposition to work with the authorities to identify people whom

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he said had provoked Coble during the recent mass protests.

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How far do you get the impression that these protests are being

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managed and directed by the opposition? Or is this real people

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power we are witnessing? There is a degree of management

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year, but I think there is also deep disappointment amongst people who

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are gathering on the square at the disillusionment when it became clear

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that there are president was not going to signed this historic deal

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with the European Union to move Ukraine politically closer to

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Europe. Some people in the east of the country are upset, but many

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people in Kiev and in the West are very angry. This country is deeply

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divided and not everyone wants closer ties with the US. Many people

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-- with the European Union. Many people in the east of the country

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feel closer to Russia. They are worried about breaking important

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economic ties with Moscow. Thank you. The atmosphere slightly

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reminds you of a rock concert at the moment, seeming fairly peaceful.

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Thailand's Prime Minister has rejected a demand from protesters

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that she should resign and hand over power to an unelected people's

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council. Yingluck Shinawatra says that would be unconstitutional. The

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premier says she's still open to talks but on the streets there is an

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uglier mood, with security forces using rubber bullets and tear gas

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against demonstrators. Bangkok's battle grounds. Year in

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the streets of the old Royal Quarter, two sides are slugging it

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out in a conflict which keeps coming back to the city. On one side, a

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government that cannot be beaten in elections. On the other, a movement

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set on bringing it down through the power of protest. Every so often,

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they think there is a breakthrough. They are trying to take the Prime

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Minister's office. A symbolic privacy is not actually there. But

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the gate as well fortified. Every surge is met by clouds of tear gas.

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Undeterred, they began ringing up an assortment of improvised weapons,

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hoping to score a hit or at least unnerve the watching police. This is

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their final attempt to push back these lines. They're hoping they can

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push their way through. So far they have not managed to push through

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police lines. After nine days of this, you have two ask, what is the

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point? The government will not resign. Was a big majority in

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parliament, it doesn't have to. But such is the Prime Minister -- such

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is the animosity towards the Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and

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her family, some people believe they have to take to the streets. Towards

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the end of the day, they brought in a new weapon. Things really kicked

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off. Rockets, home-made bombs, tear gas, lighting up the sky. The fight

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is being led by hard-line student groups now. Perhaps this time, they

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will breakthrough. And if they do, then what?

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We are joined by a former American ambassador to Ukraine. Can street

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power be effective in deciding what the political outcome is? Well, yes

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it can, and it can in Ukraine. Viktor Yanukovich has seen this

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before. In 2004, the Orange Revolution basically call the

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government to schedule a new election after a fraudulent

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election. Argues suggesting that when we look at this debate of

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Moscow against the European Union and their offerings for Ukraine,

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this is a street battle? Hopefully this is not a fight and it stays

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peaceful between Viktor Yanukovich, the opposition and the protest is on

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the street. They are there for two reasons. One is because there is

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this desire on a significant part of Ukrainian population to align

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themselves closer to Europe. They were unhappy when Viktor Yanukovich

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said he would suspend preparations for signing a deal with the EU.

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Second play, more blood was spilled this weekend and people are not

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happy. The Ukrainians took pride in 2004 that they could do this

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peacefully. People have come out in a backlash against that use of force

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on Saturday morning. In Thailand, the military is taking a back-seat.

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What is your assessment of any violence potential in Ukraine? The

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military in Ukraine is largely conscript. The action was taken by

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the ministry of interior specialist units provoked a special reaction.

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At the police has been largely absence today. It might be an

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acknowledgement from Viktor Yanukovich that the use of force

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will be counter-productive. His options are becoming more narrow. If

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he cannot risk a harsh crackdown, as you are suggesting, he also cannot

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be seen to be caving in to the opposition, can he? We will have to

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see. He has had a phone conversation earlier today with the president of

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the European Commission were he has asked about engaging in negotiation.

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The questionnaires, can he get into some sort of dialogue that begins to

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answer some of the concerns you see from the protesters on the street.

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How far can the opposition capitalise on this? The opposition

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is trying to take advantage of the people on the street who just want

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Europe. They will have to work together for a coherent message. The

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question is, can they get in to some sort of dialogue with the President.

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That is his best way out. At least 100,000 dead in the Syrian

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conflict, many of them innocent civilians, and many others injured,

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raped and abused. There can be no impunity for such crimes, says the

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international community. Now the United Nations Human Rights

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Commissioner Navi Pillay has for the first time directly implicated

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President Bashar al-Assad in alleged war crimes and crimes against

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humanity in Syria. She said investigations by her staff had

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uncovered evidence leading all the way to the top of the Syrian

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government. They have produced massive evidence.

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They find the facts. Based on that, in their report, they have outlined

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their view that the facts point to the commission of very serious war

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crimes, crimes against humanity. They point to the fact that the

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evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government,

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including the head of state. That was Navi Pillay. We

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